The first time I rode a roller coaster I was around 10 or 11 years old. I had gone to Cedar Point with my family for the weekend. I grew up in a small town in the Midwest and up until that point I had never been to an amusement park that came anywhere near what Cedar Point was like. My mom made it her mission to have me and sister ride our first roller coaster ever. The first pick was this old, wooden roller coaster called Gemini. We waited in line and finally made our way into the car. We got strapped in and I really took a good look at the roller coaster and that first hill. It looked even bigger from that seat now that there was nowhere for me to go but up. The old tracked clicked and clacked away as we slowly went up higher and higher. My hands gripped onto the bar for dear life. Then, finally, after what felt like a lifetime of anticipation, we dropped down the first hill. I was afraid for less than a second before I began to love every second of that bumpy ride. The rest of the weekend was spent with my family and I trying to ride as many different roller coasters as possible.
Everything was going great until we went on this one ride called Corkscrew. As you might guess, it’s main feature was several upside-down loops ending in a corkscrew before finishing back at the beginning. I went on it once and loved it, of course and as the line was short I decided to go back on for another ride. This time however was different. I pulled down the overhead bar and heard it click one less time than it had before. I let go for a second and it started to rise back up. Before I could say anything, the car started moving up the track. Now, in reality I was probably perfectly safe though I had a little more wiggle room that I might have liked. But, in my 10-year-old mind, there was nothing stopping me from flying out to my doom beyond my death grip on the harness. We went up the hill and unlike all the other times on a roller coaster that weekend, I felt real fear. We dropped down the hill and my knuckles went white. I held onto that harness for dear life and pulled it so tight against my chest that it was hard to breath. My lips were sealed tight and my eyes were wide. We hit the first loop and I felt myself get pulled out a bit from the car so I shoved my feet down on the floor trying to push myself right back against the seat. We hit the second loop and I pushed even harder. Then, we hit the corkscrew and I clenched my eyes closed. If this was the end than I didn’t want to see it. When I opened them again, I was back at the start and harness rose up off of me for real this time.
I stepped out the cart and breathed a sigh of relief. I hadn’t died by getting flung out of the roller coaster. Of course, I tried to tell my parents what had happened but they laughed it off as I would have too if I heard my 10-year-old self. Needless to say, I did not have any interest in riding that roller coaster again. Ever. I was just glad to walk away with my life. And then I never rode a roller coaster ever again. That is, until I saw one ten minutes later that looked awesome.